Sunday, May 24, 2015

Old Fashioned Beach Trip

In these years of the condo rental, the mega resorts and timeshares, all located in the beach locations of our youth, the spousal unit and I experienced a flash back of sorts to the times of our youth.  After a trip to the Perdido section of Alabama for several days attending a convention, we headed east to Navarre Beach to visit her cousins.

Most of our trip was on U.S. Highway 98.  This was the route most of us took in years past, before traveling east on I-10, then south on I-110.  The bridge to Navarre Beach is an old school two lane bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway.  As you begin your descent down the pass section of the bridge, you are met with signs to slow down to 20 miles per hour.

On the sandy banks of the bridge path, a migratory bird claims this area, and other protected portions of the island as their nesting grown.  We did not see them until out departure.  They resembled bird colonies from every National Geographic special you have ever watched.

The cousins recently relocated here from Shreveport.  They literally lucked out on finding a three story condo the is only about 50 yards from the sand and surf.  The first floor is the garage and storage area, the second floor is the main living area and the third is the bedroom area.  The backyard is literally a canal to the Intercostal Waterway.

The cousin has put out three crab traps, and she had already made a huge pot of gumbo with eight crabs from the trap.  Talk about some fine eating!  The spousal unit went kayaking right before sunset in search of some dolphins, with no luck.

There were no fancy swimming pools on this trip.  You want to get wet? Its off to the beach to get wet!  We loaded up our gear into our beach cart and cousin's beach wagon.  Its about a 50 yard stroll to the end of the street.  You have to wait for traffic to clear before crossing the major thoroughfare to avoid getting run over! Its then a short hike up and over the sand dune to our slice of heaven, if only for a day or two.

There are a few high rise condo units down the road, but this section of beach is sparely populated.  We set up the umbrellas, got out the chairs, then oiled up for the day,  Very few boats pass by in the water, and there is only the occasional flyover of the airplane with trailing advertising banner.

The first day we experienced the "June Grass" blooming effect.  The shoreline was literally covered in a green moss like substance, which was also in the water, making a trip into the surf undesirable, even to pee!  The second day the surf was stirring big time and the green muck from the day before was almost gone!

We watched in amazement as a hot air balloon made its way traveling east, into the wind.  Later, a wind surfer using a parachute and a slalom ski passed us, working his way west.  We all bet that his arms would just about fall off at the end of his journey.

The rest of our afternoon was full of old fashioned conversation and laughter.  Lots of stories were told and shared about the days of our youth.  Oh course, what is said on the beach forever stays on the beach!  Our frozen margaritas and specialty drinks by now were all gone.  Time to pack up and head back to the house.  I have never laughed so hard at two women dragging a little wagon up and over the sand dune and it was lighter than when it first came over the dunes.

We ended the day with a grilling of some burgers and sweet corn.  I promise, there is no finer meal at the beach than when you spend the time to prepare it yourself.  This leads to even more conversation and stories that have to remain "at the beach"!

We looked the visitor calendar over and put our name down for future visits this summer.  Then, we were back on the road to Highway 98, then I-10 and beyond, and already making plans for our next trip!  Thanks to T & T for a great time!







Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blogging Trivia

At the urging of my two boys, I started this blog three years ago.  They said, Dad, put your stuff in a blog, its too much for Facebook.  I finally said ok, thinking I would write a few, they would read it a few, and that would be the end of it.

Well, thanks to readers like you, I have made over 240 posts with over 27,000 reads.  Funny thing, my boys stopped reading it long ago, and the spousal unit doesn't see the point.  There is no point to it really.  Having been forced into retirement in 2012, I have had a lot of time on my hands.  Through my travels with the spousal unit, I've been able to see and observe some interesting people and sights and feel the urge to share them in this written format.  I'm not much of a story teller, and this venue gives me ability to get it all down, as seen "through my eyes". 

 There are some interesting facts and statistics that come with site.  Most readers are from the U.S., but a surprising number of readers are from over a dozen foreign countries.  I post a link to Facebook and also to Google+.  Most of my posts are read by fewer than 100 people with only eight with over 150.  I'm guessing that I have about 60 regular readers, and to those I am thankful.

The makeup of the reader's device of choice is interesting. I-phones & I-pads are 42%,   Window laptops are 37%, Androids are 9% , Mac's are 6% and the remaining 6 % are Blackberry and other devices.  This show you the power of the Apple.  Personally, I for some reason have always gone against the flow and been an Android guy!

The comments on the blog posts (62) have come from a hand full of people and a few anonymous.  They are for the most part positive.  I've had to remind one or two that these are "through my eyes", so naturally they are written though colored glasses!  I put the warning on the front as a reminder to those that are too sensitive or easily offended to remind them that they are entering strange waters!  My Mom's first comments to me were "OMG! Facebook has slapped a warning on you!" 

I have to admit, for the most part, these things are as I see them.  Some get a little twisted as they pass through this crazy head of mine.  I don't post as many pictures as I used to.  The pictures were intended to be funny, at least to me, till one woman would not go away, she wasn't even a FB friend, so I finally just blocked her.  That felt good, the power of the FB BLOCK!!!

Some people say you can make money at blogging.  Not me, its just a release for things in my head.  Got curious and looked.  Your average readership needs to be over 100 per day.  Those that read must click on the links in the blog, then some of those peeps have to buy something.  No thank you very much!

Here's the deal.  I'll keep writing them, if you'll keep reading them.  Heading back to the beach on Wednesday, so you know there will be something new posted on here!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rip Tide Warning

When you approach the beach, take notice of the flag color of the day. Green is the all clear, but I've never actually seen one posted. Yellow is a caution for rough seas. Red is a warning and double red is a closure to access to the surf.  Blue and purple means sea life is present.  Nothing worse than a sting from a jelly fish.

These are the basic colors that you will find.  After yesterday several more colors are needed:

1. Rainbow flag- caution for windy days, as you may get hit by a flying umbrella not firmly secured into the sand.

2. White flag with a colored circle - cautionary flag to be on the alert for a wayward frisbee.  Had one come in like a kamikaze and hit a beer can in the beach chair cup holder.  Luckily there was no spillage!

3. Pink flag - Caution, somebody is nearby playing paddle ball.  Some dudes get over zealous  and try to hit their opponent with the ball, which usually means they overshoot and here it comes.

4.  Orange flag with wavy lines - this is a cautionary flag to warn beach goers of flying flotation devices such as boogie boards, noodles, inner tube and rafts.

5.  Black flag with white dots  - caution for air born threats.  Little kiddies tend to throw sand.  Your neighbor may shake the sand off their towel into the wind.  The latest phenomenon is the smell of scented suntan oil coming your way.  Young cutie pies just love to spray sun screen from those canisters of sun screen.  Very little of the contents of those cans make skin contact on the intended user.

I'll  probably have a lot more other cautions as the summer gets into high gear.  Just remember to keep one eye open at all times, as you never know what you will see or encounter at the beach!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Just One More Day

Well, we are waking up to our last day for beaching, for this trip anyway.  Each trip to surf and sand land leaves us with so many fun memories.  The sightings, the people interactions and most definitely  the food!

Staying in a timeshare, you meet people from all over the U.S. and other countries as well. One night at the grilling station, I was there grilling up three racks of ribs and corn on the cob.  These folks had never seen corn grilled with shucks, silks and all.  Some went to their unit and brought down corn to try this out!  Guessing it was gonna get boiled, but not anymore!

On  another night, a different group, all from those northern countries had mistaken me for somebody from Louisiana,  nope, just a Mississippi red neck!  They wanted to know what I knew about New Oleans, told them there wasn't enough hours in the day!  Asked if it would be in their best interest to make an overnight trip?  Absolutely!   Hooked them up with lots of foodie places to try.  They asked about crawfish, and me being me, I replied "do you suck head?"  The guy looked at me and said "man I don't suck the head off of anything!"  This of course led to "how you eat mudbugs"!

We spend some time with our local friends Jenn, Josh, and daughter HDR.  Each trip Jenn takes us to new places for foodie treats and to her favorite beaching spots.  HDR is completing the first grade this year.  She is so ahead of her time!  It's amazing to watch her entertain herself at the beach.  She brings this huge bucket full of her beach stuff for her imagination to run wild with.  She approached son Matthew with two options: option one, help me build a sand castle.  Option two was hit the water and jump the waves.

Matthew went for option one. After a while he barked "wait a minute, all we are doing is digging a hole!  This isn't  a castle!"  HDR responded "well, since you don't like the way I build my sandcastles we now have to go to option two!"  I have never laughed so hard!  I think that was Matthew's best beach day ever!

Each  trip to the sand is a new adventure.  You never know what kind of people you are gonna meet.  First day there was the guy that didn't  like me putting my umbrellas up in front of his chair rentals.  By the end of the day, we were sharing stories over some of my margaritas!

Another day we met a young couple that just graduated from TSUN, others call it Ole Miss, the school of choice of the spousal unit. Taught  them some of our lessons and tricks of beaching and told them about the restaurant scene.  Turns out they were good friends with Matthew's twin from another mother, Brittany.  The two girls husbands had gone to Delta State and played football together and were also at marine boot camp together. This is a very small world that we live in!

Today is our last day for fun in the sun, with rain in the forecast.   I've made up the last batch of Ziparitas for the day.  Supposed to meet up with a couple we met yesterday and share a Rita or two!

Time to get up and going.  Can't wait for today's adventure to begin.  Yesterday's sightings included seeing a dolphin jump completely out of the water, and eighty year old guy face plant into surf sand three times before giving up and returning to his chair.  Then there was the woman in a black bikini carrying a baby in her arms and her tummy all swollen up with another one inside!  I kept waiting for the brunette in the red bikini to walk back by.  If she was a life guard, I was gonna be all in that water flopping around looking to be saved!

Well, time to pack .  Beach time!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stupid Thangs, at the Beach

Guess I'm getting the list started early this year.  Far too many stupid beach sightings already :

1. Guys, if you have splotches of back hair, shave or wax them before going to the beach.  So uncool!

2.  Wear sun screen.  Too many peeps getting sunburned.

3.  If you're  eighty and trying to get in the water by yourself, bring a walker.  Watching you eat that surf sand three times was painful.  He even refused assistance.

4.  If you must bring beer, make sure to bring cans or plastic bottles.  It's ticket time already here in Destin.

5.  If you want to make your buddy look stupid, make him leap for the paddle ball or dive for the frisbee.  These are indeed funny to watch.  One year a brother jumped high in the air for a football.  His pants hit the sand before he did!

6. When you wade out in the water, make sure you are at least waist deep or wait for the wave.  Otherwise everybody knows your business, which will clear the water faster than yelling :shark "!

7. Bring you some of those ZZTOP cheap sunglasses for wave action.  Already hear it "OMG! Where did my $500 designer shades go??!!"

8.  Feed the birds, and somebody is gonna get bombed!  This time it was the feeder, right square in his forehead while looking up!

9.Take your kid to the shower to rinse the sand off..  Uncool to strip and rinse beach side.  Are you kidding me........

10.  If the elastic or spandex in your suit is shot, sorry babe time for a new one.  Hit the end of season sales for a couple.  Always good to have a spare!


I'm  getting ever so close to that milestone in life called 60.  Got cousins that are already there.  Got lots of friends that have hit this milestone too.  Some of us in this category have something in common:  we all have developed a case of "sometimer's disease.

This particular disease kicks in at the most awkward of times.  You are ready, you are set, and you're all about go, but then you can't  remember!

Down here in Destin Florida for a week and you would think it would be carefree and relaxation to the max!  Not so my friends!

I got ready to go out for the day, could not find my room key, had to get another one.  Another trip out the door and I could not find my favorite hat, it was under a pillow on the couch.  In conversation yesterday, I could not remember the name of an favorite restaurant.

Yesterday I walked out front of the condo, looked forward, and WTH???, where did I park?,  oh yeah, over on the side lot because the front lot was full.   This morning, I had those weird feelings come over me,  forgot to take my magic pills yesterday!

I've  caught myself a time or two in restrooms having to feel around and find nothing.  Dang it! Got my drawers on backwards again.  It used to be easier when they put the size tag on the back.  No problem this week, ain't wearing any.  Nothing but swim suits for me all week and commando when its restaurant time!

And wouldn't you know it, i forgot to put my phone on the charger.. But hey, maybe it will also kick in on Saturday and i'll forget its time to go home!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Margarita Cure All

With it being Mother's Day Sunday, the spousal unit took advantage of the day and slept in without being disturbed.  Okay, I can handle this for one day a year.  By the time she was up and moving, I had already prepared our lunch sammaches and loaded the cooler bag with drinks and margaritas.

We arrived at the beach and the first view of the water is always breathtaking, and today was no exception.  With beach cart in hand, loaded down with umbrellas, chairs, anchors and cup spikes, I reached the sand in no time.  Once on the sand it was drag it time.

As I approached the water's edge, I noticed the chair rentals were closer to the water than they had been in past visits.  Since our arrival was later in the day, most of the spots had already been claimed.  I like a little space so I worked my way down the shore line, weaving in and out of the Beachers like driving through an obstacle course.  Finally "Land ho!"

I grabbed one of my umbrella anchors and began the process of boring it into the sand.  Then I here somebody say "hey buddy, I hate to be that guy, but I just spent a bunch of money for this view and I don't want to be looking at the backside of your head".  What the hell???

A short "discussion" began, me, then my new "friend".  I quickly decided that since this was Mother's Day, I would turn compromise and turn on some of my southern charm.  I moved over ten feet.  He continued his version of "I really hate to be that guy".  I replied "everything is fine, now just go back to your book".

He kept on with his banter. "Man, I'm like you, brought my own umbrella and chairs.  I talked to the chair rental guy about spots and he said if I wanted close to the water I needed to rent from him."  I chuckled on that one.

It was now more obvious he was pissed  at his own situation.  I reached into my cooler bag and grabbed one of my Ziparitas and walked over.  I said "man, everything is cool, just go back to reading your book, and here is a margarita for you wife".  A little more conversation, and then the look on his face was priceless.   Other beach goers had just "moved in" to the spot I had vacated!   Holding the laughter in just about killed me!

Couple of hours later the dude hollers out to me "hey buddy!  This margarita is awesome!"  Me and my Ziparitas had just made a new friend.

As they were packing up they both came over to say goodbye.   He was an Auburn guy married to a Bamer fan.  I told him "I guess you learned a lesson today,  never ask the chair rental guy about spots on the beach!"  He said " yeah, that was a $70 mistake.   It's a shame that we are leaving tomorrow because  we sure enjoyed that frozen margarita! "

The power of the Ziparita!